YELLOW SPRINGS — The Glen Helen Association has finalized the purchase of its namesake nature preserve as of Sept. 4.
The organization will serve as owner, steward, and operator of Glen Helen, the largest and most visited private nature preserve in the region.
The announcement is the culmination of a lengthy process between Antioch College, which had owned the preserve since 1929, and the Glen Helen Association, an independent nonprofit that has supported the Glen since 1960.
The association is preparing to reopen Glen Helen trails, which have been closed to the public since March.
“We know how important Glen Helen is for the community, and for the region,” said Glen Helen Association Board President Bethany Gray.“The long wait is almost over.”
Glen Helen will first open for partial days to ensure that COVID safety procedures are working. From Wednesday, Sept. 9 to Friday Sept. 11, trails, parking, and the Raptor Center will be open from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. only. Dawn to dusk hours will resume on Saturday, Sept. 12.
According to Glen Helen Ranger Susan Smith, “Visitors are welcome here. They should expect to see some changes to the trail system and our rules to help protect the Glen and keep people safe.”
Most trails in the north Glen have been designated for one-way travel only. Visitors can pick up a one-way trail map when they arrive, or download it from glenhelen.org.
“We’re asking everyone to bring a mask, and wear it when they’re in the parking area, and whenever they can’t stay six or more feet from other visitors,” said Smith.
Parking at 405 Corry St. in Yellow Springs will continue to be free for Glen Helen Association members and $5 for others. Buildings, including restrooms, remain closed, so visitors should plan accordingly.
The Glen Helen Association has started a $3,500,000 capital campaign to fund the purchase expense, and to secure the health of the preserve and the future of its educational programs.
“For all of us who love Glen Helen, this is our chance to ensure the Glen remains open to visitors, that we are able to address urgent trail and building needs, and that we can restart educational programs and ongoing ecological stewardship activities,” said Glen Helen Director Nick Boutis. “The Glen is a gem, and this is our moment to see that it shines.”
More information on the Glen, its trails, programs, hours of operation, and its Campaign to Secure the Future of Glen Helen can be found at glenhelen.org